CNN reports that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man who allegedly tried to blow up an airplane bound for Detroit last Christmas, has pleaded not guilty today to two new charges:
A Nigerian man accused of attempting to detonate an explosive device in his underwear aboard a flight to Detroit last Christmas pleaded not guilty Thursday to new charges, according to a law enforcement official.
Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab was indicted on two new counts -- conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries and possession of an explosive device in furtherance of a crime of violence. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison on the new charges and on six counts brought against him in early January.
“Breaking a Promise on Surveillance,” is the headline of a New York Times editorial this morning. At issue is an Obama administration proposal to allow the FBI to obtain lists of anyone’s email correspondents and web browsing history by issuing a National Security Letter without going to court.
Al Qaeda cleric Anwar al Awlaki described both the Fort Hood Shooter and the Christmas Day bomber as his “students” in a tape released this weekend, according to pressreports. This is not surprising – the evidence tying Awlaki to both terrorists has continued to mount. But Awlaki’s comments highlight, once again, the U.S. Intelligence Community’s many failures in investigating the al Qaeda cleric.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has released an unclassified summary of its investigation into the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day 2009. The committee’s bottom line is that the system did not work.
In an audio recording released last Wednesday, Anwar al Awlaki, an American-born radical Islamist cleric residing in Yemen, called directly for jihad against the United States. (For more about Awlaki, see here, here, here, here, here, and here.) In short, Awlaki has been linked to a number of recent terror attacks, including the Fort Hood shooting and the Christmas Day attack.
In a USA Today op-ed this week, assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser John Brennan wrote that "politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda." He's referring to the bipartisan criticism of the administration's decision to Mirandize the Christmas Day bomber rather than detain Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant. Accusing your opponents of helping al Qaeda is not the best way to resolve an argument! Yesterday, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions took to the Senate floor to rebut Brennan's arguments. Roll tape:
The Obama administration says that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (UFA), the failed Christmas Day bomber, is now cooperating with investigators after weeks of silence. Assuming that’s true, then authorities should be able to get answers to the following questions:
--Pressreports indicate that UFA met with Anwar al Awlaki, a notorious al Qaeda cleric, while in Yemen. Awlaki was a “spiritual adviser” to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, had ties to other 9/11 hijackers, and also advised Major Nidal Malik Hasan prior to the Fort Hood Shootings. What is the relationship between UFA and Awlaki? How did UFA get in touch with Awlaki in the first place? Al Qaeda maintains strict security protocols and not just anyone can meet with an influential ideologue like Awlaki. Someone within the terror network probably vouched for UFA prior to his meeting with Awlaki. If so, then who vouched for UFA?
The White House yesterday leaked the news that the Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had begun cooperating with FBI interrogators last week. The Washington press corps quickly declared victory for the Obama administration and suggested that the news vindicated the decision to read Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights just 10 hours after he was detained and after just 50 minutes of questioning.
In the five weeks since the Christmas Day attack on Flight 253, the Obama administration has come under tremendous scrutiny for its mishandling of al Qaeda operative, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. At first the criticism focused on the many intelligence lapses that allowed Abdulmutallab on the plane. In recent weeks, most of the attention has been on the gross incompetence of the Obama administration in the aftermath of those attacks -- from the general ignorance of top administration national security officials such as Janet Napolitano to the failure of the administration to have set up any mechanism to interrogate high-value detainees.
But nothing has drawn more criticism than the decision to read Miranda rights to Abdulmutallab after just 50 minutes of questioning by local FBI officials.
There is one reason that White House should be thrilled about the Massachusetts Senate race. It crowded out news that came out of the stunning testimony of Obama administration officials Wednesday on the Christmas Day terrorist attack. Four top counterterrorism officials testified before a congressional committee that they were not consulted about how to handle the interrogation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the al Qaeda operative who attempted to blow up Flight 253 on December 25, 2008.